The calendar tells me it’s been eleven years since you’ve left this earth. It tells me that you’ve had eleven heavenly birthdays with Jesus. Yet to my heart it feels just like yesterday. Your death it forever shaped me. Your death taught me that not all babies come home. Your death taught me that you were to beautiful for earth and that Heaven needed you more.
You Lucia made me a mom and you will always be my son. Even though my heart wasn’t ready God knew I was strong enough to become the mother of an Angel. My womb became your tomb. And my heart knows that you were not alone when your heart took its last beat. You were in my womb surrounded by love, you were comforted, and when the news broke, a little bit of me died with you. The words “I’m sorry there is no heart beat,” broke me in more ways than I care to describe. I wanted your short life to matter so I donated your body to science. Some good had to come out of your death and if you could help others I was all for it.
To this day we do not know why you died. You were genetically perfect. Your organs were as they should be, it’s just for some reason only known to God your heart stopped. Not having a why is a hard pill to swallow, yet I have faith that one day God will tell me the why.
For now my heart often wonders what would my eleven year old son be like today. Would he love books and video games like his dad. Or would he be full of adventure and talkative like his Mama. Did you get my curls or your dad’s jet black hair. Would you have your dad’s Jewish features or freckles like mine. I often wonder what you’re laugh would sound like. The land of what it is a place to get lost in, but I know I cannot dwell here forever. So on your birthday I let my mind drift and stay a bit. Because Lucia I was always wonder who you would have been.
Some ask me how I can carry on without you and I often say; “the moment I was born my name was written in the book of Heaven. God, he has promised me eternity. And when I die I will finally get to Mother my children. Not for a short time like on earth, but for all of eternity. God’s promise is what keeps me going.”
Happy Birthday Lucia! Love you forever and always my son. Until we meet again. ❤️
I am no stranger to therapy. I am the queen of acting happy when my world is falling apart. For years my coping mechanism was stuffing my feelings in my back pocket and acting like nothing happened. This worked, until it didn’t. One day my pocket got a hole in it and my feelings fell to the floor. Every bit of my brokenness was laying in front of me, staring me in the eye and asking me to deal with it. The dealing was the hard part.
In mid April we found out that our forth and final embryo transfer did not take. We got a negative blood pregnancy test. One moment I was fine. The next I was eating sour gummy candy while crying in my bath tub. I felt defeated. I felt cheated. I was angry and frustrated that everyone else got their miracle but me. I shared my feelings with my dad and in a brief moment I realized why I am the way that I am. I am the product of his parenting.
He said to me “you do not have time for feelings. Stop it. Get yourself together and get your head in the game. Feelings trip you up. Stop it.” I heard those words a million times during my childhood. If I fell of my bike, my dad would tell me “stop crying. We don’t have time for crying.” If someone hurt my feelings at school he’d tell “you are better than them. They are trying to mess with you. Get yourself together and get back in the game.” My Dad viewed feelings as a weakness. He wanted me to be tough, driven and successful. In his eyes the successful did not feel. They instead stuffed it down, put on a happy face, and marched forward.
My Dad thought he was doing me a favor, but instead he unintentionally set me up for disaster. When the disaster came he again went into his pep talk of “we don’t have time for this, get your head in the game.” Time was something I needed. I needed time to just sit in my emotions. Time to get comfortable with the fact that I didn’t have to always be strong. Strength comes from within, it grows when we face our emotions. Therapy, therapy is what righted my course. In that small office I heard the words “AJ you can have bad days too.”
In those sessions I learned that I can take off the mask, I can share what’s on my mind and those that love me will accept the mess. I learned that it’s ok to say no. That it’s ok to put myself first. That it’s ok to feel everything that makes us uncomfortable. That it’s ok to set boundaries, to take a moment to just be and to breathe in the beauty that’s around me. That it’s ok to wave your white flag and take a nap. Naps are self care after all. Rest restores the mind, the body, and soul. It’s also ok to just be a hot mess who eats gummy bears while crying in the bathtub. No one can tell you how to process your feelings. They are yours and yours alone and only you know how to handle them.
Sometimes we loose our spark. We feel overwhelmed with defeat. It’s hard watching other people get the miracle you so desperately begged God for. God knows your journey and he knows what is to come. It’s ok to feel those feelings, they are valid and no one can tell you otherwise. Your spark is not lost. It just got smaller. Remember all it takes is one tiny spark to light the whole damn fire. Your spark will light a blaze and one day that blaze will lead someone out of the darkness. When you rise, be the blaze. Be the hand that says come as you are and be the voice they need to hear.
Many years ago Charlie gave me a Pendleton coffee cup for my birthday. I loved the cup. I made sure it made the move from the suburbs to uptown. It was the cup I had on my desk at the office. This was my cup and no one could drink out of it, like ever. After Charlie died I brought it home from the office as I wanted it safe in my kitchen. I drank out of it almost every morning as I stared off into the distance muttering “what the fuck,” with the muppet like dog at my side. Until one morning it slipped through my hands and landed on the floor in pieces. With tears welling in my eyes, I swept it’s broken remnants into the trash. I tried to find a replacement cup but it eluded me.
That is until Jay accidentally broke the Pendleton Coffee cup that I got for him in the gift shop at Custards Last Stand in Montana. He was heart broken as it had become his favorite cup. I told him “don’t worry, I can find you a new one.” As I scrolled through the tableware section of the Pendleton website my heart stopped. The cup I had been searching for was there on the screen and in stock. So of course I clicked add to bag and then added the replacement cup for Jay.
In that moment, I realized that Jay was meant to break his cup that night. It was Charlie’s way of giving me a reason to log onto the Pendleton website to find the cup I had broken long ago. He sent a sign at Christmas time from heaven above to let me know that he’s still with me. And knowing me he’s probably like “girl order a couple of them, because you drop things a lot.
This cup isn’t the same as it wasn’t given to me by Charlie. However it makes me smile. Smile because it helps me remember the man who healed my heart and opened the door for Jay. Without Charlie’s leaving there would be no Jay. In my heart I know he’s smiling down on us and yelling “live your best dreams!” ❤️
A part of me wants to be mad at the first three fertility clinics I went to. Like someone along the way should have picked up on the fact that I might possibly have endometriosis plus a side of adenomyosis. Yet no one did and so they shoved me into their one size fits all protocol box. In which in their defense my numbers always looked great so their one size fits all approach worked.
It worked until it didn’t. In Iowa I cycled two times and both were canceled prior to our retrieval date. Dr. Young’s last words to me were “if anyone can get you pregnant, it’s Mayo.” He’s words soaked into me like water to a sponge. Yet I never picked up the phone to make an appointment with Mayo. Instead we explored our options such as foster to adopt and donor embryos.
By the fall of 2019 I had my heart set on donor embryos. I was ok with carrying someone else’s genetic material to term and calling that baby my own. But my heart she still whispered “let’s try one last time. One last time.” My gut gave me the courage to call Mayo for a consult. And on an icy February morning I drove down to Rochester and never looked back.
Mayo takes a team approach to infertility treatments and therefore you need enough of the team to believe in your case in order to proceed. The day of my consult the majority of the team was at a conference and I wouldn’t find out if I was accepted until I got back from my cruise. We did everything on the cruise to keep my mind of Mayo and it worked. Sherri and I had a blast aboard the Carnival Victory. And we soaked in the sites of Key West and Cozumel. It was a trip that I will always treasure.
When I got back the Doc from Mayo called me early Monday morning to tell me that I had been accepted. As fate would have it the university of Iowa called a couple hours later to tell me that we were next on the donor embryo list. That night jay and I weighed the pros and cons. We prayed and my gut told me that Mayo was the answer.
Enter Covid and all of our appointments got postponed. Which was fine by me, people needed the PPE and doctors more than I did. In May I had a pelvic MRI done and was at that time diagnosed with endometriosis and adenomyosis. Dr. Khan could also see plain as day my complicated anatomy on the screen. He explained that we could do surgery now or wait. Wait because if my ovaries had to be cut open I’d loose what little egg reserve I had left.
I chose to wait. In July we did one last Hail Mary retrieval cycle and ended up with two high grade embryos. Which I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I have two embryos in the freezer. The team at Mayo was just as excited as we were and they were so glad that we were able to freeze embryos.
Anyways back to the endo, I had my surgical consult at the end of August. During my consult Dr. Khan was once again very thorough and he explained everything to me. He laid out the options and the plan and like before he gave me choices. Hard choices like “if your Fallopian tubes are diseased is it ok for me to remove them? If removed you will be infertile.” Well according to medicine I am already infertile so I said yes to that option. I walked out of his office knowing that we had a solid plan and that one day soon my body would feel so much better.
Surgery day came sooner then I thought it would. The date it just sneaks up on you and before you know it you are in the shower with antibacterial soap that makes your skin itch. My surgery was delayed by 6 hours due to the case prior to me needing more time. I was fine up until hour 5, my hunger and thirst set in and I’d do anything for water. Thankfully a nurse took pity on me and gave me a little bit of water. Soon it was my turn to go down to pre-op. Where when I saw Dr.Khan I asked “did you forget about me!?” He said “how could I forget about you AJ. You are one of a kind.” He once again went over the plan and even the changes he made. He decided it was best to leave the adenomyosis alone because cutting it out of my uterus could cause more harm than good.
Five some odd hours later I was backup stairs in recovery. I do want to add that the post op recovery unit closed at 9PM. Two nurses whose names I did not catch stayed late so I could go home to my own bed. The nurses I had were incredible. They made sure I was able to walk on my own. One nurse helped me get dressed and made sure we had a barf buffet cup (it’s a bucket filled with wipes and Kleenex) to go home with. The nurses wheeled me down to the pickup zone and waited for Jay to bring the car over. On our way down I kept apologizing to them and they both looked at me and told me it was ok. “This is our job. We love our job. We’ll go home tonight and do the exact same thing again tomorrow.” They both gave me a hug and helped me into car and we waved goodbye as we drove off.
There is something about a Mayo Clinic nurse. They truly have a servants heart and away with people. I was always amazed by my Dad’s nursing staff and now to experience it on my own, he’s right when he says “they are the best of the best.” It’s true they are and I am so thankful for the care I received from my recovery nurses.
Rochester is 75 bumpy miles from Burnsville. And I felt every bump HWY 52 had and I’d never been happier to turn into our little street. We got home after midnight and that first night was pretty rough. French fries were a bad idea…..(I’ll leave that for your imagination). But butter toast saved my tummy along with some oxycodone and a little bit of sleep. You don’t realize how much you use your core and pelvic muscles until they are cut open.
Speaking of cutting, Dr. Khan diagnosed me with stage IV endometriosis and an ASRM score of 76, which in normal human terms means, really bad. He told Jay I had one of the worse cases he’s ever seen. Which is strange because I never showed symptoms, my endometriosis was the silent yet naughty kind. He removed endo from my pelvic cavity, abdominal cavity, colon, rectum, ligaments, ovaries, uterus, and a whole lot of other spots too. It’s crazy to me how much damage was done to my body every month and that this had gone undetected for years.
When I think back to the first three clinics, two out of the three saw dollar signs. Especially CCRM Minneapolis, Dr. B claimed to be an expert, yet she missed a lot of fucking red flags. And her arrogance didn’t allow her to seek outside advice on my case. Her kicking me out of the clinic lead me to Iowa. In Iowa Dr. Young did his best to help me, but at the end of the day I was to complicated for him. And I respect his walking away from my case and sending me off to Mayo.
If it weren’t for Dr. Young’s words I’d never would have gone to Mayo. Mayo’s tag line is “when you are ready for answers.” It’s perfect, I was ready for answers and I got answers and explanations to everything I’ve gone through in the past five years. One MRI sealed my fate and now knock on wood I will be living endo free for a long ass time. And with just a little luck and a whole lot of faith I will get to carry our embryos to term.
The lesson I learned in all of this is…. listen to your body. Do not give up on her and keep searching until you find a doctor that will really listen to you and not throw you into the one size fits all box. You are unique and you deserve the very best care. Everyone deserves that. So if you feel you might have endo, go talk to your doctor. And if your doctor doesn’t listen go find one who will. Because living with endometriosis shouldn’t be a death sentence, it should be a piece of your story.
Ten years ago I woke up and made a decision. A decision that was months in the making and one that needed to be made for my own sanity. I chose to leave. To walk away from a marriage that wasn’t worth saving and said goodbye to a child that I will love until my last breath.
Only a handful of people knew about my situation. Most thought I had the perfect storybook marriage. I had the big house in an affluent community, money, travel, and a husband that adored me. In reality my husband only adored me in public, my big house became my prison and the money only flowed one way, his wallet. Day in and day out I was told that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t thin enough, smart enough, or pretty enough to be loved. Those words cut into my soul and my mind believed them as truth. After awhile I no longer recognized the woman in the mirror and my laugh disappeared. Smiles rarely showed and my light hearted manner slipped away. He broke me in more ways than I could ever explain.
I never correlated what I experienced with abuse. Until I started therapy. My therapist looked at me point blank and said “Hun, that’s not normal. You went through mental and emotional abuse.” All I could say back to her was “Umm what?” She explained that he used manipulation and gas lighting to break me down. To make me feel like I was less than and that if I ever left him I wouldn’t survive on my own.
His last words to me were “you will never make it on your own.” Those very words have been my fuel. I’ve been fighting to do better and be better because I couldn’t let his last words win. It took awhile but I slowly found myself again. At first tears were plentiful. I felt like a failure and having to start over at 27 was scary. I got my first apartment, learned how to pay bills (no side eyes, the ex had done this for me), and I adopted a muppet like dog. And I never looked back. I was determined to make it on my own.
And when I was ready I dipped my toe into the dating pool. It took awhile for me to realize that his words were false and that I was indeed beautiful. To this day I can remember the first time after my divorce a stranger told me that I was beautiful. It was in the uptown Green Mill parking lot and I cried. I cried because it was the first time in over a year that someone uttered that word in my direction. I left that parking lot with a new found confidence and my grove was back.
Dating as a young divorcee is hard. I kept my guard up and my hope close to my heart. I just wasn’t going to settle for anyone that slid into my DMs. I was picky and there were times where I didn’t even show up to the date. Yes, I AJ ghosted people and that’s ok. Sometimes you just don’t feel like it or maybe you got lost and you didn’t want to be super late. Anyways dating is hard, like real hard.
I didn’t spend a lot of time in the pool, Charlie came in and threw me a life ring. Charlie was able to peel back the layers and heal the years of hurt. In his eyes I was everything and nothing would ever change that. Sure he was 13 years my senior, yet the difference didn’t matter. He’d tell me often “AJ do you know why we work?” I’d tell him no. “You understand the work. You understand that an Attorney doesn’t always work a 9 to 5. You understand that sometimes a case comes before family. You understand that sometimes I have to be away for weeks at a time and because you understand, you are ok with it.” He was right as a paralegal I understood the work and all of the late nights and long weekends that go into a case. I never complained or batted an eye when he stayed in the office till 1AM. He was right, because I understood the work we just fit.
That fit was short lived. And my heart to this day still hurts. Charlie died on February 16, 2012 from injuries sustained in an auto accident on Valentine’s Day. His life was taken by a drunk driver. A driver that I have forgiven. He made a mistake and like me he has to live with the consequences of his mistake for the rest of his life. Charlie was a once in a lifetime love. His soul was vibrant and his personality could fill a room. He knew how to make you smile in the worst moments and roar with laughter. To calm me Charlie would tell me stories in Mohican and with each word whispered I’d forget what I was fretting over. Charlie looked out for everyone and lived life to the fullest. A piece of my heart lies in a little cemetery in Montawk and because of that I strive to live the life Charlie had imagined for me.
After Charlie I took time to let my heart heal and when I was ready I dipped a toe back into the pool. Dates were plentifully, but only a few had long term eligibility. After awhile I just gave up and decided that the single life was the life for me. I had a good job, a cute apartment and a muppet like dog. Life was good and I was happy. But fate, she’s a funny lady, Fate had other plans for me. On Veterans Day 2014 a marine slipped into my DMs and I’ve never looked back.
It hasn’t been easy. We’ve had our trials and our triumphs. We’ve gone through more than most couples do and we’ve come out on the other side stronger than before. He gets me and I get him back. Jay believes in my crazy dream of motherhood. Jay doesn’t like the limelight, he prefers to be in my corner where he can cheer me on from the cheap seats. He answers to every whim of my wanderlust heart. Jay gets my Tasty Taco addiction and my need for adventure. If it’s out there and if it won’t kill me, I want to do it. But mostly Jay is what my heart always needed, he can make me laugh until I can’t breathe, he can calm me when I’m out of sorts, he knows that the simplest things make me happy, and he always makes sure the bed is made. (Having a made bed is everything to me) He is a good egg and I am never letting go. Well that is unless he declares that he hates dinosaurs and fluffy white dogs, then I’ll let his ass go. I can’t have that negativity in my life 🙃.
Looking back now I realize that my divorce wasn’t a failure, it was my launching pad. I’ve done a lot of amazing shit in the past ten years and none of it would have happened if I stayed in that marriage. I wouldn’t have worked as a contract paralegal hopping from case to case. That job eventually led me to my niche, I’m a Risk Consultant and it perfectly fits me. It’s a mix of law/regulation review and procedure/policy analysis, which is my jam. I never would have done the best thing ever…….. duh adopted a muppet like dog! Cullen has been my side kick for almost ten years, he is my joy in four legged form. In the end I am the one who got rescued on adoption day. Nor would I have a shit ton of travel stories to share. My life would have been boring and sad. And ya all know me, I may be a lot of things but boring and sad isn’t one of them. This life I’ve built and rebuilt and rebuilt again, is fucking amazing and I wouldn’t change any of it. Life is a beautiful disaster and this disaster is all mine.
From time to time people ask me for advice. Like relationship advice, yes you read that right, relationship advice. And when I respond I think back to what Charlie said “you need to find someone that understands the work.” He was right, at the end of the day you need to find someone who understands the work and understands you as a person (<—- last part is my two cents). Otherwise your relationship isn’t going to work. Things will happen in your relationship that neither of you signed up for, it’s what you do with those things that matter. If those things break you apart and that break is not repairable, it’s ok to walk away. You did your best, you gave it everything you had and now it’s time to call it. A wise attorney once told me “there are no winners or losers in a breakup or divorce, someone has to call it. That’s the hardest part, making the judgment call.” <—- I heard this advice on a Friday and walked out of my marriage that Sunday and then never looked back. Best advice I was ever given. So if you are where I was ten years ago, just call it and never look back. Your launching pad is waiting for you.
“Walks around dusting of the blog……. wipes her hands on her jeans. Ahhh there we go!” Now we can work with this! I admit, this blog of mine has been collecting dust as I busily live life out loud. I am in the process of learning to live in the here and now, without the sudden urges to document everything that’s going on in m my life.
Yet, my soul knows how much my fingers love to touch the keys and with each stroke my words translate into a hope that I can’t even begin to understand. This blog of mine is a source of comfort, triumph, laughter, and lastly a source of hope for those on their way to parenthood. This is a safe place where I can share and where my sharing resonates with you and in turn you said “damn, me too.” This place will always exist for us and I promise to be better about sharing with all of you.
The journey is forever changing. When I think I am on the right path it switches on me and I end up on foreign ground. The path to parenthood isn’t always a straight line. For some of us it’s a switchback up a mountain with more lows than highs. This summer we were certain foster to adopt would be our path to parenthood. But my heart she wasn’t ready to let go of what her soul yearned for. Deep down my soul knows I am meant to carry a child into this world. To prove that against all odds science and God will triumph.
Somewhere in Iowa a couple went through IVF and they decided that their family is complete. That couple decided that they wanted to pay their blessing forward. Instead of letting their embryos sit in a cryobank for eternity they chose to donate life. The embryos are donated to the University of Iowa’s donor embryo program and we are on list one. List one gets served first (couples with no living children and/or pregnancy) and we are waiting for the day we get the call telling us it’s our turn. With a little luck their leftover embryo will become our take home baby.
If our IVF story would have turned out differently, we had planned on giving our leftover embryos to a donor embryo bank. We wanted to pay it forward and let someone else have a chance at holding a baby in their arms. Being on the receiving end of Embryo Donation is a path I never thought I’d go down. Yet here we are, putting one foot in front of the other moving closer to parenthood. Our turn, is just a phone call away and my heart cannot wait to finally grasp that rainbow.
Last Sunday I left for Iowa full of hope. Hope that our mini IVF cycle was going to be our ticket to parenthood. My first scan on Monday revealed six mighty follicles and I was excited. A phone call that afternoon took the wind out of my sails. My estrogen only went from 32 to 41 which means the follicles were most likely empty. Dr. Y gave me the choice to throw in the towel or continue on.
I choose to continue my cycle with a recheck on Wednesday. Cullen and I made the best of our stay in Iowa and enjoyed the warm weather. Wednesday came and I walked in to the scan so full of hope. Hope that somehow some way this was going to work out. My six mighty follicles were still growing and I had one lead at 20mm. I left the office with a mix of hope and fear.
Winter sent her last bast to the Midwest and my 3.5 hour drive turned into 6. The clinic called with my results, my estrogen only went up to 101 and Dr. Y canceled my cycle. I was heart broken. I wanted to give this cycle everything I had and I begged for them to let me go to retrieval. The answer was no. No because my estrogen should be in the thousands and not at 101. The likelihood of us actually getting any eggs was slim to none. In less than two years my egg quality went from great to poor. Poor eggs do not grow to healthy embryos that lead to take home babies.
In my heart I knew it was time to move on to frozen donor eggs. I called the clinic asking about cycle pricing and what it would all entail. Dr. Y recommended that we use a surrogate and denied my request to transfer the embryos to me. He said that with my age and medical history a surrogate was the best way to get our baby. I was heart broken. This man was willing to transfer my own embryos back to me, but when it came to donor egg embryos he said surrogate only. Dr. Banfield laid everything on the table (strain on my body, age, history of repeat loss, and clotting history) and second Dr. Y’s recommendation. In that moment I felt defeated.
All of the hope I had left my body and all I wanted to do was shrivel up and wish the world away. My heart was broken. My body failed me and because of that my chance at motherhood of a living child slipped through my fingers. Sure, I could search for another clinic and go forward with donor eggs. But deep down in my gut I knew I was done. I have exhausted all avenues with my own body and it’s time to move on.
Move on to an instant kid. I have always felt called to adoption. To raise a child that wasn’t of my own flesh and blood. A child that needs a home filled with love and adventure. When I was little I was obsessed with cabbage patch dolls. I loved that they came with names and adoption certificates. Edith May and Thelma Louise are safely tucked on a shelf in my childhood closet. My parents kept them for me. They had hope that one day I would hand them down to my daughter. That hope is still there and in my heart I know that our child is out there just waiting for us to bring him or her home. Jay and I are moving forward with foster to adopt.
We started February’s cycle filled with hope. A hope that was quickly dashed when I heard the words “Dr. Y thinks it’s best to cancel this cycle and start over.” My body which is now two years older than before was not responding to the meds. After four days of stims I only had two lead follicles and Dr. Y didn’t like those odds. The nurse told me that Dr. Y wanted to try a different approach on my next cycle. We trusted his decision and appreciated the fact that he called it instead of having us go through a retrieval that could have resulted in zero eggs.
Hearing the word “canceled” made for a long drive back to Minneapolis. In my heart I felt defeated and in that moment I lost hope. Tears fell as the miles ticked by. I was angry at my body and I felt like I failed Jay. This was suppose to be our turn; our Hail Mary and it fucking failed. Somewhere between Iowa and the MN boarder the tears stopped and hope bubbled through. I was down; but I was not out. We still had options and I let my heart turn to donor eggs.
When I got home I of course cried some more and then I ate some Tasty Tacos with Jay. We discussed the what if’s and I muttered the words “donor eggs” to him. I wanted to ask the doctor if it was the right fit for us and find out the cost. Jay and I were in agreement that it didn’t hurt to ask. We both realized that we want a life with a child who will come visit us when we are old. So if donor eggs got us that life then that is what we would do.
When I asked Dr. Y about donor eggs he was upfront and said “we are not there yet.” He went on to explain that my age caught up to me and that older women respond better to less meds. Which seemed strange to me but I trust his over thirty years of expertise and so less meds it is. I will be on a mix of Femora and Menopur with a little Cetrotide to prevent me from ovulating on my own. And of course my old pal Lovenox will be involved in this party. Even though I am on less meds the risk for blood clots is still there and it’s a risk I’m not willing to take on. Hopefully this combo will lead us to many follicles that will contain mature eggs.
It’s a crap shoot that’s for sure; but we are not ready to give up. If this protocol doesn’t work we will then move on to donor eggs. Which for some it isn’t the right option; however for us it maybe our only option for parenthood. I have given it a lot of thought and I am at a place where I can accept that our baby will not genetically be mine. This is a sacrifice I am willing to make for our take home baby. For now in this place it doesn’t matter what egg the baby comes form so long as it’s born alive and healthy. We just want a good egg that will turn into an embryo that leads to our take home baby.
I can still remember exactly what I was wearing on the day my world broke. Gray cardigan, white button down peasant top, jeans, and cranberry ballet flats. The shoes, I still have them. They are worn and raggedy, I just can’t let them go. Those shoes carried me in the ER and they walked me out days later. Those shoes are a symbol that I survived the worst day possible.
Every day I am reminded that four had to die so I could be the one out of five who walked away. I live each day for those who no longer can. I live each day for the women who lost their lives to the Nuvaring. Those women are my battle cry and I will not rest until there are none. Those women have given me more strength than I ever thought possible.
I survived because God, he wasn’t done with me. God knew my strength before I did. God gave me a second chance and I have cherished each day to the fullest. Fate, she’s a funny one and I know that everything I have lived through was apart of her plan. That this plan isn’t mine and only Fate knows where I am going. I cling to every drop of borrowed time and thank God for every day I rise. For I know this second life of mine is an incredible gift.
On October 22, 2009 I made a choice. A choice to not be a victim. A choice to thrive and live a life worth telling. I want a life filled with incredible experiences and stories that will keep me company when I’m old. I made a choice to stand up and be a voice against the darkness. A voice to bring awareness to a cause and educate those around me about the side effects of hormonal contraceptives. My voice will not be silenced until there are none. I have work to do and I will not rest until there are none. One day there will be none and on that day I will take off my white hat and rest.
This past year was filled with heartache and joy. I became a mama to my 3rd sleeping son. Emmett James left this world before his feet ever touched my hands. I am grateful for the experience and I am thankful to be his mom. When sadness fades to joy life begins. I got to watch Sophia and Jack turn one year older. There faces bring joy to the darkness of the night. I am grateful that I survived and get to hear their little voices say “Auntie! Auntie! Auntie!” They are my world and I am there’s.
I spent my weekends traveling form place to place with my dad at my side. No matter the destination he was game. We went to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; Mackinac Island; The Badlands; Mount Rushmore; Crazy Horse; Wyoming; Jeffer’s Petroglyphs; Milwaukee; Racine; Hayward; Effigy Mounds National Monument; Crowing Wing State Park; Door County; Washington Island; and the North Shore. This summer we traveled more than most people do in a lifetime. Much wine and booze was bought and we have memories to last us until the end of time.
My dad isn’t the only one who got in on the road trip fun. I traded my dad in for Jay! We made our usual pilgrimage to WI Dells and we ventured west to South Dakota and Wyoming. This year was the year of travel and my heart is happy. I am the trip planner in our family. I plan and Jay just comes along for the ride. That is what I love about him, he’s up for anything as long as I’m involved.
My heart she is thankful. Thankful that I got a second chance at this thing called life. This second chance taught me to live in the moment. Fate has taught me to let the little things slide and stand up for the big things. I have more hope and faith than most people. For I’ve seen God work. Long ago I stopped asking “why me,” instead I stand up and ask “why not me.” I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and God knows what he’s doing. Research, saved my life and it will continue to save the lives of others. We need to believe in research and fund research so that others can have my outcome. So that they too can have a chance at living in a beautiful disaster.
For the past nine years I’ve asked for motherhood. This year I am just asking to be HAPPY. Happy with myself. Happy with my work and life. I want to feel joy and give joy. I want to be that person whose happiness is addictive and strengthening. That beacon we flock to on a bad day and the one we laugh with on a good day. I simply want to be happy.
This is my battle cry “I AM A PARENT!” And no one can ever take that away from me. My womb has been a place of life and a silent tomb. Three babies I have carried, their hearts beat in the same rhythm as mine, and when their hearts fell silent, a part of mine died too.
I walk this earth with a broken heart. On May 13, 2010, I gave one piece back to God, his name was Alucious Gregory. On July 7, 2015, I gave a second piece back to God, his name is Baby E. On March 5, 2018, I gave a third piece back to God, his name is Emmett James. I myself wonder how I can still stand, how I can still move, and mostly how my heart still beats. I have one piece left and she beats on, for her sons need her to be strong.
Strong for the moments when she tears up and utters “there should be five,” as she watches Sophia and Jack climb hay bails. Strong for the moment when she walks through the orchard and utters “this should be Emmett’s first trip.” For the moment when she utters “Emmett’s first Halloween costume could have been Dr. Brown.” They need her to be strong when she proudly hangs Emmett’s ornament next to Lucia and Baby E’s on the tree. They need her to be strong so that she can live a life of what could be instead of a life of what ifs.
Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett need their mama to be strong for they believe that she can. Their deaths cannot be in vain, they to believe that their mama deserves a living breathing baby to spoil and love. A baby that will take the breath that they never got to breathe. A baby that will get to lay eyes upon the women they never got to call mom. A baby that will nuzzle into her neck and dream a lifetime of dreams that they never got the chance to dream.
Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett are the tiny voice that whispers, just one more step on silent nights. They are her fuel, her fuel to not give up on this dream called MOTHERHOOD. Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett are her battle cry! She is a parent to three boys, her sons they will always be. Their mother she will always be. She will light three candles, one for each of her sons, and a forth to remind her that as long as she is breathing, Hope is still alive. A reminder that she most always follow the light until she reaches the ends of time and never give up for her sons need her.